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 Susan Murray Stokes  (20/21st century)

About: Susan Murray Stokes


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/New York / England/India      Known for: landscape, portrait and still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Susan Murray Stokes was born in Bournemouth, England and raised in India and Sri Lanka. She knew early in life that she wanted to paint, and was fortunate in having access to the traditions of Western painting, through the good offices of a member of the British Royal Academy living in Sri Lanka.

In the early 1960's Susan moved to London to pursue her studies at the Byam Shaw School of Art.  It was at this time that she accepted a Vogue contract and worked with such legendary photographers as David Bailey, Bert Stern, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.  The hectic and somewhat superficial life in New York, Paris and London led her back to India in quest of meditation in the Himalayas.  Here Susan realized that she had not had time to acquire the grammar of painting.

She returned to New York to search for a teacher, and she discovered Harvey Dinnerstein at the National Academy of Design*.  She also studied with Daniel Greene at the Art Student's League*.  In the late 70's Susan moved to Boston and studied with R. H. Ives Gammell. Gammell represented a direct line of descent from the teaching of Jacques-Louis David [1748-1825] to Paul Delaroche [1797-1856] to Jean-Leon Gerome [1824-1904] to William McGregor Paxton [1869- 1941].  Gammell's atelier* included no more than five students at any given time, and it was his hope and intention to pass on the tradition of picture making to a new generation of painters.

Susan Stokes' work has been exhibited in many group shows and one woman shows including the Guild of Boston Artists*, National Arts Club*, the Salmagundi Club*, Portraits Inc in New York, Painters of Light show in Dallas Texas, Lancaster Festival of Arts show in Ohio, Springville Museum of Art Utah,  Main Street Gallery Nantucket, Francesca Andersons' gallery in Lexington, and Copley Society*, Boston.

Over the years Stokes has received awards from the National Academy of Design, American Artist's Professional League*, Silvermine Guild* Connecticut, Grumbacher Award*, Frank Benson Award from the Guild of Boston Artists, and the John Singleton Copley Award from the Copley Society*, where she has qualified as a Copley Master.

Susan Stokes also received a grant from Earthwatch, sponsored by the Weber Foundation, to accompany a botanical expedition to Mexico.  The New York Graphic Society and Townhouse Press have published her work.  She was chosen to depict a portrait of Dorothea Dix, for the city of Worcester's Mechanics Hall.  Her portraits can also be seen at Harvard and Northeastern Universities.

Stokes' mature work reflects both the diversity of her background and the strength of her chosen tradition.  Each canvas contains both the organized interplay of abstract patterns and finely rendered aspects of visual truth.  It is the marriage of these two elements design and fidelity of observation, which have been the criteria used to define excellence in painting by the harshest of critics which is time.

Susan Murray Stokes lives in Newbury, Massachusetts with her husband, and her two children who are now in college.  She travels in the summer to Nantucket and the White Mountains in New Hampshire to paint landscapes, and in the winter she paints primarily portraits.

Guild of Boston Artists

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